“Whisky is a great industry in Scotland. Whisky is a great pleasure in the rest of the world,” a quote from well known French whisky writer, Jean-Marie Putz. And he’s not that far off from right, maybe exact — as a matter of fact, whisky has truly become a drink of sophistication and pleasure, especially in America as bourbon production alone has grown over 150% and sales are booming into the billions as early as 2013 with craft distilleries increasing as well. But this begs the question… Why? What is it about whisky and its variations that’s causing a surge in sales and even in recognition?
If you’re a part of any social media platforms or groups, you might have noticed that there are events offered across the United States and abroad called Whisky Night. These events can be individually sponsored, group based, and even business-related, where a segment of professionals actually step outside of work and cast off the malaise of mundane in-office business affairs to enter a bar or house or some staffed-place for a night out drinking. However, this drinking is not the normal ‘toss back a few’ and let your hair down kind of outing. Rather, it is a pan to a time when imbibing alcohol, specifically whisky, was in itself an event, one of mystique and class, and embraced as something for the elite. In a confounding, yet much needed way, those times are back.
Whisky is popular again (that’s to say that it actually went out of style, not to sure about that ) and in its pseudo second advent, it offers something interesting about our culture. As American cuisine has grown in size, affectation, and popularity, so has the pairing of whisky. To eat in America is not just to ingest so one might not starve, but it has become for so many, a form of entertainment and fellowship, and with it, the parkour of fine drink. Additionally, popularized TV and films that are period pieces and dramas have depicted a kind of flare about whisky that has caused a proliferation in not just its consumption but how it is consumed.
For as much as culture finds itself in the midst of some chaotic upheavals when it comes to acceptance, tolerance, and politics (all of which overlap seemingly), there also seems to be a call for refinement, and seeking out the pleasures and enjoyments of life, and more possibly more importantly, togetherness: that’s what whisky nights offers — an opportunity for togetherness.
Macdonald, Fiona. Whisky: A Very Peculiar History. The Salariya Book Company, Ltd. 2012